The air outside smells so good. The trees are greening up, daffodils are bobbing in the breeze, and we can hear a woodpecker hammering away. The temperature is a perfect 73 degrees. But today I closed up all the windows, turned on the air conditioner, and dragged the vacuum cleaner upstairs, because my poor kid suffers from allergies to tree pollen.
This week his eyes have been red and watery, he’s had long stretches of serial sneezing, and last night, just after midnight, he had his first big nosebleed of the season. Our pediatrician recommended Claritin (we buy the generic loratadine), which definitely helps manage his symptoms. We have also started giving him a dose of Benadryl at bedtime to manage the watery eyes and sneezing, which often triggers his nosebleeds. (The drowsiness side effect is just a bonus.) I am grateful that he doesn’t have asthma or any other condition that can be exacerbated by allergies, but the symptoms he does have can be miserable, distracting him at school and disturbing his nighttime sleep. I can’t put him in a plastic bubble. He has to go to school and I’m not going to discourage his active playtime outdoors. But here are a few ways we help him stay comfortable at home during the spring allergy season.
6 ways to alleviate pollen allergy symptoms:
- Close the windows. I hate to do it, but if the pollen isn’t blowing in, he isn’t breathing it.
- Especially in the bedroom, vacuum (with a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, if possible), dust with a damp cloth, and wash all the bedding in hot water.
- Change the furnace filter regularly.
- Have your child wear a hat outside and change clothes after playing outdoors for any length of time.
- Encourage kids to shower before bed. It rinses off the pollen (especially in their hair) that they’ve accumulated while playing outside, and the steam helps clear the nasal passages.
- To keep nasal passages moist and prevent nosebleeds, use a saline mist or ointment in the nose morning and night.
Now, if anyone can suggest six ways to convince a nine-year-old boy that taking a shower every day is a good idea, I’m all ears.